The Subjective Museum

Funded by the International Museum Fellowship Pogramme

Focusing on Subjective Bases of Knowledge and Their Museological Consequences

Frankfurt is many cities. Which one do you live in? This question lied at the centre of “Frankfurt Now!”, the new participation-based permanent exhibition at the Historisches Museum in Frankfurt. The project aimed to create a digital collection of perspectives which revealed the knowledge of experience gained through everyday practice.

As part of this fellowship, the collection was expanded and analysed in two different ways. In search of the “sensed city“, the fellow spoke with its inhabitants to learn how they feel about Frankfurt, how they perceive it and “use” it, and subsequently add his/her personal view of Frankfurt to the collection. The fellow was given free rein to determine the content and method of his/her contribution. In today’s museum landscape, there is hardly any research conducted on collections devoted to subjective bases of knowledge. Therefore, the museum wished to discuss with the fellow the museological consequences of focusing on subjective criteria. What objects does the curator happen to encounter? What presentation strategies are suitable? How does it change the museum as an institution? Would it lose scientific credibility to only gain “street credibility” instead? The aim of the Fellowship was to develop a museological theory of the “subjective museum”.

The museum was looking to hire a curator from a “community museum“, such as the Museu da Maré in Rio de Janeiro or the District Six Museum in Cape Town. Such museums are known for playing an active role in and for the local community.

The International Museum Fellowship programme

With this funding programme, the Federal Cultural Foundation enabled guest curators and researchers from abroad to work at museums or public collections in Germany for a duration of 18 months.

International Museum Fellowship (external link, opens in a new window)

Erica de Abreu Gonçalves, Fellow at the Historisches Museum

Erica de Abreu Gonçalves is a Brazilian researcher currently enrolled in a PhD-program in Museology at the Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias (Portugal). Her current research theme is focused on the connections between museums and cinema. As Fellow for the Historical Museum Frankfurt, she contributed to the new permanent exhibition with a film installation dealing with Frankfurt and how the city is experienced by different people. She also cooperated to organize an international conference aiming to bridge the gap between the Portuguese-Brazilian tradition of Sociomuseology and the mostly English-Speaking Museums Studies.


No upcoming events at present

Previous events

  • 7 October, 2017 : International conference "The Subjective Museum"

    Historisches Museum Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main


Historisches Museum Frankfurt

Fahrtor 2
60311 Frankfurt am Main (external link, opens in a new window)